Trib coverage about the McLennan County Commissioners Court closely scrutinizing the need for more, improved weaponry for constables during budget sessions prompted healthy debate among our readers, with a focus on one constable’s remark about the visual impact that certain weaponry offers in discouraging resistance among suspects and another who could only convince commissioners to replace his aging pistols. A sampling of thoughts offered:
David Carrasco Sr.: Give them what they ask for.
Jéfe Reyes: If the [county] commissioners court, after all these years, has to ask themselves what the roles and duties of the constables are and what functions they perform that are specific and unique to their department, then perhaps they are really not needed and whatever they do could be assumed by the sheriff’s department with a few more personnel. I know of one constable who drives around in a late-model Camaro. Can he transport a prisoner [that way] or is he just showing off? Another addressed a public meeting is street clothes, worn jeans, untucked shirt. Hardly a representative of the county. Don’t get me wrong, I have the ultimate respect for law enforcement, but it does not appear that the constabulary work within well-defined parameters.
Don McFarland: What kind of aging pistols does he need to replace?
Cameron Whyburn: A constable is supposed to aid in minor things, not go around trying to play Cowboys and Indians as at least one does.
Amamda Renee: Constables are able to perform the same duties as all Texas peace officers. Constables are killed or injured just the same as any other officer or sheriff’s deputy doing their job. A constable may be defined as a peace officer who serves civil process [papers], but take into consideration that when serving civil process, the deputy or constable is in half the cases directed by a judge to deprive someone of his or her property and/or liberty of freedom. Under many circumstances, most people would not want that to happen and might attempt to use force on the deputy/constable. So when you ask the question of “Why do constables need rifles or pistols?” the answer would be to perform their duties safely and protect the citizens of the county.
Michael McNary: What happened to protect and serve? Didn’t know it was a constable’s job to be “intimidating”? And cops wonder why some folks have issues with the profession.
Sherri Bowlin Phillips: Intimidating to the criminals is what [the constable] was referring to. And that’s just fine.
Larry Thomas: He might see some bikers!
Dave Oakley: They answer to us and have forgotten that.
Kris Dokey: A very good friend of mine was serving papers and the gentleman pulled a rifle on him. His service pistol didn’t stand a chance against the .308 rifle and he was shot dead right on the porch.
Dalton Liebschwager: I’ll back Michael here as saying what is he being intimidated by really? Unless the other person pulls the gun first, he should not pull. If a knife is pulled, he has a tazer or nightstick. A gun should be last line of defense and that’s it. These officers are pitiful for “intimidation” and militarization.